Staying vibrant and energetic is as much about your mindset as it is about the physical condition you’re in.
But have you ever stopped to think what EXACTLY it means to have an attitude or energy of youthfulness?
Today, I’m sharing my framework for a youthful mindset, so that you can begin to not only understand it, but more importantly, be mindful of and intentional about developing your own youthful energy.
There are 7 characteristics of a Youthful Mindset. The more you can develop each of these characteristics, the more vibrant, energetic and excited you will feel.
The first characteristic is Optimism.
The stereotype of a grouchy old person is rooted in reality. It is often the lack of optimism for the future that starts a person down the path to becoming generally grouchy or unpleasant to be around.
Even a young person, who expresses nothing but pessimism, comes across as old and tired and worn out by life. In other words, pessimism is the gateway attitude to becoming a grouch.
Without optimism, the human heart withers.
The second characteristic is Curiosity.
Curiosity indicates interest, or a desire to LEARN something you didn’t know before. That interest, or desire to learn, could be about anything, or anyone, for that matter.
It’s simply an acknowledgement that you don’t know everything there is to know. That you will NEVER know everything there is to know. That there is ALWAYS more to learn.
The third characteristic is closely related to Curiosity and that is Openness.
Where curiosity is a desire to learn, openness is the realization that you never know where the answer will come from, or what it will be when you discover it. It is a sense of Wonder about the world and about life. A sense that life holds innumerable mysteries and that you can’t wait to see what it reveals to you next.
Openness is also the understanding that, while you know what you know right now, you’re open to the idea that new information may come along that makes you happy to change your understanding in the future.
Your thoughts and beliefs are not so set in stone that they can’t be changed or improved upon.
The fourth characteristic is Creativity.
Sophia Loren once said “There is a fountain of youth; it is your mind, your talents, the CREATIVITY you bring to your life and the lives of the people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”
And what better role model is there for youthful energy than Sophia Loren!
Creativity requires the active use of our imagination. Inside our brain, creativity is about connecting things – thoughts, ideas, concepts – that weren’t previously connected.
This is the epitome of the youthful mindset.
The fifth characteristic is Innovation.
Innovation is similar to Creativity in that its about the development and use of your imagination.
But Innovation, in my opinion, is more solution-oriented in nature. It’s a way of looking at things, at situations that are currently not working well, and applying problem-solving skills.
An innovative spirit piggy-backs right onto optimism, curiosity and openness… to come up with new ways to enhance and improve our own lives and the lives of others.
The sixth characteristic is what I will call Moxie.
A youthful mindset requires a belief in oneself. It’s a belief that one is capable of achieving what they desire, even if they don’t know how to do what’s required right now, even if that means they’re simply the ones who teach or inspire others to achieve.
It means that they value their own mind, their own wisdom, their own contributions.
They see themselves as useful, no matter their age.
This is one that trips up many an elderly person. They don’t put a value on their wisdom and experience and begin to feel like they are no longer useful, with detrimental results, both to themselves and their loved ones who could benefit greatly from what they know.
And the final characteristic of a youthful mindset is Joy.
Joyfulness is the great equalizer and bridge across all demographics.
It’s like a language that everyone who’s alive can speak.
When you have a sense of awe and wonder at the sheer beauty of life, it’s noticeable and powerful.
A joyful laugh transcends age, both for the person who’s laughing and the person who hears it.
Walt Disney, that most famous of people whose life was all about bringing Joy, said “Growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional.”
So there you have – my framework for a youthful mindset
For a practical tip, pick one of these characteristics that you’ll benefit the most from improving it. Is it Optimism, Curiosity, Openness, Creativity, Innovation, Moxie or Joy?
Just pick one.
And then grab a piece of paper or a journal and write 5 ways that you could bring more of that trait into your life.
For example, list 5 ways you could improve or enhance your own Curiosity. How might you develop a stronger sense of Curiosity about the world around you? What are you already curious about that you haven’t spent time learning?
Plan to spend 10 minutes a day over the next week, being intentional about developing that characteristic in yourself.
Until next time, stay youthful!